When you've finished the book, the manuscript has been edited, and you're signing copies, it's easy to forget just how much work went into transforming your idea into a finished product.
Here's the calendar and timeline Joshua and I published back in 2002 when we were writing the first edition of Moon Handbooks Nicaragua. Who says being a published author is glamorous?
Calendar and ProgressJanuary '98 - April '00
Josue and Randy serve Peace Corps Nicaragua with group Nica-15. Both deplore the obvious lack of a decent travel guide to Nicaragua; they decide to write it.
After abandoning the idea for nearly a year, both Randy and Josue, now on opposite ends of the continent, simultaneously and without communicating, start to work on the book and proposal. Randy draws up a rough outline and does some preliminary research. Josue edits them and supplies some additional information. The ball is rolling.
January '01 - March '01
Intensive work and research both by Randy in Nicaragua and Josue in NYC. They decide the scope of Avalon Travel Publishing's Moon Handbooks Series matches their vision for the book. The pitch letter, an analysis of the competition and supporting charts, resumes, writing samples, and references are assembled. The Managua and Condega chapters are written and extensively edited for use inclusion in our proposal.
April 24 '01
Avalon Publishing accepts our proposal for the first ever "Moon Handbooks: Nicaragua by Joshua Berman and Randy Wood." And there was much rejoicing.
May - July '01
Contract negotiations continue with Avalon. Josue is busy in Honduras and Israel with the American Jewish World Service. Randy is neck deep in the Hurricane Mitch program in Nicaragua. Much work goes into the background chapters and the Leon chapter.
We sign the contract!!
September 20 '01
We convince Avalon the manuscript will be ready this year. The book will now be published in fall of 2002. Our final submission deadline is moved from February 2003 to February 2002.
We begin working on the intro chapters - On the Road and Introduction. Josue is now in NY and Randy is still in Managua.
October 9 '01
Josue finally comes south to Nicaragua. Work begins in earnest. First chapter: "Leon and Chinandega" is due October 15th. Our Intro and "On the Road" chapters are lookin' good.
October 15 '01
Leon and Chinandega chapter submitted. Now we dig into Esteli, Somoto, Ocotal, Jalapa, and the rest of the north. Everything will be submitted by February 2002.
November 15 '01
Esteli, Somoto, and Ocotal have been researched and written. All the background and history for the Atlantic Coast have been done. Field research is now focusing on Granada, Masaya, and the South, and then the Atlantic Coast. We're doing lots of background info on Sandino, the canals, the language, health and safety concerns, and so on.
December 1 '01
We establish our war room in a 4th story Managua apt. Randy and Josue strongly deny all allegations that it is christened the "Pimp Tower."
December 20 '01
Rivas, Ometepe, and San Juan del Sur (the south) are complete.
December 31 '01
Randy finishes up with the Hurricane Mitch program and loses his privileges for both the Blackhawk helicopters and the HUMVEE. All regions have been researched and written except Puerto Cabezas, Waspam, Jalapa, Boaco and Chontales.
January 16 '02
The home stretch. Boaco and Chontales have been completed and Randy has popped out to get Rama as well. Final edits are underway.
January 31 '02
The final two weeks are marathon non-stop 16 hour writing and editing sessions, during which time Randy gets engaged and Josue gets gas.
The manuscript is delivered at 11:45 PM, consisting of 140 documents, 4.2 megabytes of text files, and who knows how many hours of writing. The authors celebrate by sleeping.
February 15 '02
Maps and graphics are due on February 28. We are producing and cataloging over 50 maps, all of which have to be 100 percent accurate, and more than 400 photos.
At Avalon, work has begun designing the cover and editing the manuscript. Edits will continue through the next few months.
February 28 '02
We meet our final deadline. The next day, as we sweat out the previous night's celebratory rum, we move out of the Pimp Tower and return to our respective surreal existences.
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